Posted by: Alyssa Morris in Depression on June 18th, 2011

Bipolar depression is a mood disorder whose major characteristics are frequent and extreme changes in mood. These mood cycles tend to alternate between two extremes of either intense excitement (mania) or low mood (depression). However, it seems like states of depression tend to happen more frequently than the elation or euphoric ones.

Several yet unverified factors have been attributed as the real causes of the illness. One of the most accepted theories about the development of manic depressive disorders suggests that the illness has a genetic origin. Research has shown that the condition is more widespread within members of same family.

These studies also observed that some individuals are highly predisposed to developing this condition due to certain inheritable genetic flaws. These genetic flaws seem to cause various neurological complications that ultimately generate the various bipolar disorder symptoms. Examples of these problems include myelin sheath deformities in addition to an imbalance of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. However, even after all these studies, doctors are still not completely sure about the actual origins of this ailment.

Another group of individuals who are highly susceptible to bipolar disorders are persons with regular habits of substance abuse. The use of narcotics and stimulants such as alcohol, heroin and cocaine are very common among young adults who suffer from this disorder. As a result of this, doctors usually find themselves accosted by a difficult task of distinguishing between mood fluctuations associated with bipolar disorders from the drug induced emotional states.

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Other symptoms that are experienced during the depressive phase of this illness are continuous gloomy mood, feelings of desperation and hopelessness, acutely low energy levels and fatigue, diminished physical and mental abilities among others.

Apart from feeling high and euphoric during the manic episode patients also experience several other physical and psychological complications. These problems include too much energy, over optimism, lack of need for rest, rapid thought and speech processes, talkativeness, reduced inhibition and risk taking, agitation and insomnia.

Patients are deemed to be experiencing severe bipolar disorder when they start displaying psychotic symptoms which can include hallucinations, delusions and suicidal ideation. These signs of psychosis are sometimes mistaken and medically treated as schizophrenia. During such periods patients start behaving in risky ways that could be harmful to themselves and others. They may thus need to be forcefully kept in secluded location until a point where they become psychologically stable.

Posted by: Alyssa Morris in Depression on May 12th, 2011

When a person is diagnosed with depression the most common treatment solutions include medication and therapy. While these treatments do offer help for those suffering with depression, many doctors are considering the incorporation of exercise within their treatment plan.

There are several ways in which exercise can help a person suffering from depression. While it is important to note that if you are diagnosed with depression or think that you have depression be sure that you discuss any treatment options with a qualified expert.

The following are some reasons how exercise can provide assistance to someone who is suffering from depression:


When a person goes through any form of physical activity this compound is released within the body. Endorphins act as a painkiller so the main reason that the body releases this compound is to counteract the pounding that a body takes during physical activity. However, there are side effects of endorphins that can help someone with depression. This compound can also provide a euphoric feeling. This feeling can help people achieve a positive outlook and a general happy state.

As noted above, the main purpose of endorphins is to act as a painkiller. This is primarily meant for the impact of physical activity, but this effect can also help people who are dealing with chronic pain or other ailments. This pain may lead to depression, so a relief from the pain can help with treatment.

Group exercise and/or working out with a friend:

By exercising with some friends, or even within a group of strangers, adds a lot of positive social experiences. This social interaction is great therapy for anyone suffering from depression. Also, working out with other people is an excellent way to maintain a workout program. It is harder for a person to quit an exercise program if they know that there are other people counting on them being there.

Sleep improvement:

Exercise helps people achieve regular and better sleep. This is simply due to the demands put on the body. Poor sleep is linked to depression, so achieving better sleep is another great way in which exercise can help as treatment against depression.

Any exercise can help:

Many people are afraid to start a new workout routine because they figure that they cannot handle the rigorous physical activity. Or, they may think that they just don’t have the time. However, any activity can help. Start by just walking around the block a few times. This does not involve strenuous activity and can be done in a short amount of time. Over time, you will find yourself walking farther and faster. Eventually, that walk may turn into a jog.

Although it is a growing phenomenon, many doctors are not prescribing physical activity as depression treatment. Do not let this deter you. Bring it up with your doctor and as long as it is not forbidden, start with some light walking or jogging. You may be surprised by how much some exercise can affect depression.

Posted by: Alyssa Morris in Depression on April 2nd, 2011

If you or a loved one has depression you will be looking for ways to help that suits you and your family. There is not just one way, so make sure you get all the information you need to make the best choice for you.

General practitioner (GP)

The first step for many people experiencing depression is their GP, the trusted family doctor. Once you explain to your GP how you’re feeling and what is going on in your life, he or she will most probably ask you a set of questions to establish whether your symptoms are pointing in the direction of depression or some other health concerns. As a result of this, he might suggest medication (antidepressants) or refer you to a psychiatrist, psychologist or other therapist dealing with depression, depending on what suits you most.


Remember that taking medication is a really personal decision and some people prefer to try without. If you feel that your GP is biased and wants to persuade you to some form of treatment that does not fit, find someone to give you a second opinion.

Medications treat the biological component of the illness. The treatment for depression however needs to be collaborative and include psychological components as well as biological. Make sure you choose therapists who work in collaboration with each other.

Psychological support

There are various forms of therapy that can be helpful for treating depression: psychodynamic psychotherapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), counselling and other alternative therapies like gestalt, hypnotherapy, rebirthing, journey therapy, cranio sacral therapy etc.

What the right approach for me?

All of the above mentioned forms of therapy have different approaches and not all are suited to you. Make sure you ask questions and get a sense of what feels right for you. Talk to other people you know who have experienced what you are experiencing now. Read up on the different approaches, either in books from the library or on the Internet.

Once you feel comfortable in your choice of approach get some referrals for therapists and try it out. Just like with a recommendation of a restaurant you will want to check whether you like what they serve.

The therapeutic alliance with your therapist is of utmost importance for the success of the therapy. As a counsellor I say to my clients that they have to feel that they want to work with me as much as I need to feel that I can help them. This is the basis of any kind of work, no matter what the approach is.